Photo: Citroën Racing

Sébastien Loeb surprised to be sidelined by Citroën for 2016

With Citroën reducing its motorsport involvement in 2016, with its WTCC programme reduced to two cars next year for José María López and Yvan Muller, nine-time WRC champion Sébastien Loeb has said he was surprised to find out his place in the WTCC is gone for next year, with his objective having been to win the title in his third year full-time of circuit racing.

Citroën announced yesterday they will withdraw from the World Rally Championship for 2016, before returning with a full factory programme in 2017, when which their WTCC programme will come to an end instead.

With López and Muller chosen to drive the team’s only two official cars next season, Loeb’s main programme will be away from the circuit, competing with sister brand Peugeot in the Cross-Country Rally World Cup as well as the Dakar Rally.

“I was surprised when I learned that I would not continue to defend the colours of Citroën Racing in 2016. We built this challenge WTCC together with the personal goal to win the drivers’ title in three years,” said Loeb.

“I am disappointed that the adventure ends after two years because I had the will to win this title and I had shown my competitiveness onboard the C-Elysée, including four wins in 2015. A beautiful story ends, but I have no regrets. Rather, I say I some great memories.”

Loeb’s team Sébastien Loeb Racing, which runs the privateer cars of Ma Qing Hua and Mehdi Bennani, although Ma’s car is run under the Citroën banner with support from Citroën China, is yet to confirm its plans for next year.